Editor, IFSEC Global

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James Moore is the Editor of IFSEC Global, the leading online publication for security and fire news in the industry. James writes, commissions, edits and produces content for IFSEC Global, including articles, breaking news stories and exclusive industry reports. He liaises and speaks with leading industry figures, vendors and associations to ensure security and fire professionals remain abreast of all the latest developments in the sector.
June 23, 2021

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IFSEC Interviews

BIM: Why is it important for the security sector?

Perceived to be in its relative infancy a few years ago, Building Information Modelling (BIM) is becoming more integral to the construction process for many medium to large buildings throughout Europe. Here, we speak with Marc Ameryckx, BIM Manager, ASSA ABLOY Opening Solutions EMEIA, to find out why security tech and devices need to be properly considered early on in specification and why the industry needs to enhance its understanding of the BIM process.

Marc Ameryckx, BIM Manager, ASSA ABLOY Opening Solutions EMEIA

“Years ago, dedicated BIM specialists didn’t exist in the market and security industry. Now, all construction stakeholders can’t ignore it, which means everyone from architects and specifiers, through to security and facilities managers and manufacturers also need to get on board with the process,” explains Marc Ameryckx, EMEIA BIM Manager at ASSA ABLOY.

Very much described as a workflow process, Building Information Modelling – or BIM, as it known – continues to evolve and has changed significantly in the past five years. Education is therefore key for stakeholders to ensure they reap the rewards of a process which values and utilises data above all else.

ASSA ABLOY Opening Solutions believes that architects and specifiers in particular will be required to embrace the workflow as it becomes a necessity in the construction world. As Marc highlights, many governments are now requiring a BIM process to be used in public construction projects to ensure buildings are futureproofed – the Netherlands being a prime example. Even private contractors are realising the benefits, as it is believed to significantly reduce delays and errors due to the vast amounts of information being collated and recorded into one, easily accessible centralised platform.

So, what is BIM?

Marc explains: “The important thing to understand is that it’s not just software, but rather a process or workflow. The 3D renderings so often associated with BIM aren’t just about the aesthetics – it’s the data behind the images that are more important. All the products and materials used within the construction process should be included, with as much high quality data as possible assigned to them.”

So, in essence, the process creates and manages information on a building – starting at design, all the way through to occupation – across its lifecycle, with those involved updating the model as new products, devices or materials are implemented. As a consequence, all of the building’s properties and data is available through a centralised digital source with up-to-date, accurate information.

“All stakeholders then have access to this centralised source, which ultimately helps to minimise design and engineering errors,” continues Marc. “Effective BIM helps eliminate mistakes before they happen, or allows you to identify them as early as possible – the earlier you solve these problems, the less they cost.”

“Security consultants may also be required to play their part in the future. Providing expert advice and insight, with a good understanding of BIM and its requirements, will be more important than ever to ensure customer projects are futureproofed.”

Where does security fit in to the BIM process?

There are several reasons why security and facilities professionals need to become engaged with the workflow, argues Marc. However, he also highlighted the need for architects and specifiers involved early on in the design and construction process to understand the importance of factoring in security devices and systems to BIM.

“There is an education piece required for architects and engineering officers, who are very often not aware of the complexity of doors and security solutions. While they may focus on other building systems such as HVAC, this is because there is a fear of the unknown and they don’t always ask enough questions.

“As security solutions have developed and become more sophisticated, so has their impact on the overall building environment. If doors, entrances and access control solutions don’t have the features required by the building manager from the outset, it can become a real challenge to implement this at a later stage. Security systems are crucial components within buildings, and should be factored in from as early as possible.”

BIM-Security-ASSAABLOY-21

ASSA ABLOY Opening Solutions specialised regional BIM departments are therefore often required to provide expert support, to ensure architects and engineers understand what impact security solutions may have on the BIM process. Openings Studio, the company’s own cloud-based software, is designed to integrate with a project’s design software to create and visualise openings for door, frame and access hardware specifications, while there is also a wide ranging selection of ‘BIM-ready door opening solutions’ with data ready to download from ASSA ABLOY’s website.

Security consultants may also be required to play their part in the future. Providing expert advice and insight, with a good understanding of BIM and its requirements, will be more important than ever to ensure customer projects are futureproofed.

And, the benefits for security and facilities end-users are easy to see, believes Marc. “As long as good quality data is put in at the start of the BIM process, there are obvious long-term benefits for those maintaining and controlling the building once occupation has started. The more data you have on the security products and solutions you have, the better you can maintain your building and act when needed. Security managers should be pushing BIM workflows and data quality, so they can use the ‘as built’ model in their assessments and understand the systems that have been selected.

“If specifiers aren’t thinking about the security devices in the first place, this data won’t be available for future use for maintenance or consultation if something goes wrong. Rather than having lots of documents stored in different places – many of which will likely get lost or be misplaced – a centralised, easily accessible BIM system should have all the data available that is required.”

Where does the future lie for BIM?

Marc has worked at ASSA ABLOY Opening Solutions for 15 years now, with the last six focusing on BIM, and he was quick to point out the standards and tech is evolving continuously. Quality data is ultimately the most important factor in the process, so there is likely to only be more data inputs into the modelling, enabling greater control over the building during design, construction and maintenance stages.

“We’re also beginning to see the development of ‘digital twins’. This is where users can create a digital twin of a building to simulate different situatons in advance to find out what may happen if systems are changed. For instance, security managers could assess the impact of implementing an upgraded access control solution, reducing the risk of unforeseen complications. Again, this ultimately relies upon high quality, accessible data.”

“For all those unsure of the BIM process, particularly in relation to security devices and solutions, ASSA ABLOY is here to help with dedicated experts and regional teams.”

Additional resources for BIM from ASSA ABLOY:

Keep up with the wireless access control market

Download this free report to find out more about:

  • The current state of wireless access control solutions in the market
  • The developing ‘move to mobile access control’ trend
  • Views on open architecture and integration
  • The growing use of the cloud and ACaaS to manage access systems
  • How important is sustainability to the industry?

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